Tokyo — A 612-pound bluefin tuna offered for a file 333.6 million yen ($three million) on the first public sale of 2019, after Tokyo’s famed Tsukiji market was moved to a brand new website on town’s waterfront. The successful bid for the prized however threatened species on the predawn public sale Saturday was greater than double the 2013 annual New 12 months public sale.

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It was paid by Kiyomura Corp., whose proprietor, Kiyoshi Kimura, runs the Sushi Zanmai chain. Kimura has typically received the annual public sale up to now. The self-styled “Tuna King” mentioned “the standard of the tuna I purchased is one of the best.” 

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Japanese broadcaster NHK confirmed a beaming Kimura saying that he was stunned by the excessive worth of tuna this yr. 

The public sale costs are means above traditional for bluefin tuna. The fish usually sells for as much as $40 a pound ($88 a kilogram), however the worth rises to over $200 a pound close to the yr’s finish, particularly for prized catches from Oma in northern Japan. 

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Staff of sushi restaurant chain Sushi-Zanmai lower a 278kg bluefin tuna at their restaurant in Tokyo on January 5, 2019.

Kazuhiro Nogi / AFP/Getty Pictures

Final yr’s public sale was the final at Tsukiji earlier than the market shifted to a brand new facility on a former fuel plant website on Tokyo Bay. The transfer was delayed repeatedly as a consequence of considerations over soil contamination. 

Japanese are the most important customers of the torpedo-shaped bluefin tuna, and surging consumption right here and abroad has led to overfishing of the species. Specialists warn it faces doable extinction, with shares of Pacific bluefin depleted by 96 p.c from their pre-industrial ranges.

“The celebration surrounding the annual Pacific bluefin public sale hides how deeply in bother this species actually is,” mentioned Jamie Gibbon, affiliate supervisor for world tuna conservation at The Pew Charitable Trusts. 

On a standard day the same sized fish would promote for round $60,000, BBC Information’ Rupert Wingfield-Hayes reviews from Tokyok. Saturday’s file is partially about standing – and it creates lots of publicity for Kimura and his sushi empire.  

However it is usually a mirrored image of the shortage of huge Pacific bluefin tuna. They’re formally listed by the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) as an endangered species.

In 2018, catches off the coast of Japan have been considerably down, and because the center of final yr costs in Tokyo have climbed by greater than 40 p.c. 

There are indicators of progress towards defending the bluefin, and Japan and different governments have backed plans to rebuild Pacific bluefin shares, with a goal of 20 p.c of historic ranges by 2034.

A long time-old Tsukiji was considered one of Japan’s hottest vacationer locations in addition to the world’s greatest fish market. The brand new market opened in October. A couple of companies stayed in Tsukiji, however almost all the 500-plus wholesalers and different companies shifted to Toyosu.

Tsukiji is because of be redeveloped, although for now it is being changed into a parking zone for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.


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